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How to Recycle Electrical Items

Household Appliances and Electronic Devices

Ready to recycle electrical appliances?

Our homes are full of electrical items. From alarm clocks to mobile phones, irons, washing machines, lawnmowers, CD Players, gaming consoles, toasters and TVs. The list is endless.

However, we inevitably come to a point where the item is either broken, needs upgrading or just plain out of fashion. But what is the best way to dispose of electric items and is it possible to recycle them? Here we discuss the best options available.

What is the WEEE Directive?

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was first introduced in 2007 and regulated the way manufacturers, importers and distributors in European countries recycle.

The directive is regularly updated in order to continue reducing the amount of waste from electronic equipment being incinerated or sent to landfill sites. For more information on the WEEE directive visit

How to get the most from your electronic devices?

The most effective way to reduce the amount of electronic waste you are producing is to look after your appliance or device so that it can last as long as possible. Many appliances come with guidelines from the manufacturer. Give these a read as they regularly include a maintenance guide that will help extend the appliance's lifetime.

What Electrical Items Can Be Recycled?

If your item no longer works and you want to get rid of it in the safest and most responsible way then recycling is the best way to go. We currently do not recycle nearly as much electrical equipment than we could. These devices are made up of a variety of materials, many of which can easily be reused.

In some instances, you may not know if an item is recyclable. It is this lack of knowledge and understanding will end up stopping you from doing so.

An easy way to see if an electrical item is recyclable is to ask yourself the following questions. Does the item...
Use batteries?
Have a plug?
Use a charger?
Have a picture of a crossed-out wheelie bin on it? - This is the logo for WEEE.
How to Dispose of Electronic Items
Due to the WEEE directive, electrical items should not be placed in a skip as there are other options available to ensure the items are disposed of in the correct way. Some local councils can organize the collection of small electrical items, so you should contact them to see if they can help.

Another option is to take your electrical item to your local recycling centre as they have dedicated sections for these items.

As part of the WEEE Directive, all retailers need to provide customers with a method of disposing of their old electronic equipment, if they are supplying the customer with a new version of the same item. This is why many stores will offer a collection service or a take-back scheme. Always check with your retailer when purchasing a new electrical item. Be aware as some charges may apply.

Is Your Electrical Item Still Working?

There are many occasions where your electrical appliance still works but you still want to get rid of it. In those cases, you could consider reselling it as long as it still in good working condition. It is a great opportunity to not only reduce the waste you are creating but earn some money at the same time.

You can trade in electronic items in certain stores and receive some money in exchange or store credit.
Another option is donating the item. You will need to check however as some charity shops do accept electrical items. You should also ask friends and family in case they would like to take the items off your hand.

Other Ways to Reduce Electrical Waste

Although it is becoming increasingly easy for us to recycle our household electrical items, trying to reduce our waste in the first place will benefit the environment. Here are a few ways to do this:

Buy high-quality smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms that have long-life batteries
Use rechargeable batteries rather than disposable
Choose wind-up torches rather than battery
Buy tools that can share a battery rather than using individual batteries

There are many ways to correctly dispose of electrical waste and ensure you recycle electrical items where possible. To find out more about how we can help you with your waste disposal and recycling needs, please contact us on 0800 083 7807 or visit our website for further information.

Items NOT to put in a skip- Dangerous Items

no asbestos skip binHiring a skip is a convenient way of disposing of household waste. Although skips can accommodate a huge range of items, there are some materials and items that should never be placed in a skip. Here we give you more information about which items you should avoid putting in a skip and some alternative disposal methods.

Skip hire is cheap and convenient. Although much of the waste is recycled there are some items that require particular disposal methods. These are not the responsibility of skip hire. Hazardous items that could cause harm to others are not allowed to be placed in a skip.


Asbestos is harmful and cannot be recycled so it needs to be disposed of by specialist companies. Under no circumstances can you place asbestos in your skip. There are specialist companies you can contact instead to deal with this waste. Specialist companies know how to remove asbestos in the safest way and will dispose of it accordingly. It is illegal to recycle or reuse asbestos, so qualified people should be called to remove the substance and ensure it is being disposed of correctly. Visit to find out how to contact your local council to organize the disposal.


You should not place any types of battery into a skip. They contain metals and chemicals that can be harmful and therefore need to be disposed of with care. There are many hazardous materials within a battery, including lead which can be extremely poisonous. Luckily, it is easy to recycle batteries as many supermarkets and DIY stores have containers for old batteries.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury which is a harmful substance and therefore not suitable for skip waste. Contact your local council or recycling centre to find out the best place to dispose of them.

Fridges and Freezers

Some local councils will collect your fridge or freezer for free, so it is worth exploring this option. If this is not possible you might need to pay for a specialist collection or take it to your local recycling plant.

Gas Cylinders

Not all skip hire companies are licensed to take gas cylinders, therefore you should always check in advance. Your local recycling centres may be able to recycle them so it is worth contacting them to find out. It does not matter if the gas cylinder is full, half full or empty, you should avoid placing in a skip. In many cases, you can return gas cylinders to the place of purchase and they can reuse and refill them.

Medical Waste

It is understandable that medical waste should not be placed in a skip as it could increase the risk of spreading infection and increased contamination. Get in touch with your local council who can point you to a company that will dispose medical waste on your behalf.


Paint tins cannot be placed in a skip unless they are completely empty. Contact your local council if you have filled paint tins you need to dispose of. The same rules apply for other solvents, fuels, oils and bleach.


Tyres also need to be disposed of separately to general waste. There are organisations that collect tyres. Alternatively, contact your local car garage to see if they can suggest a place that will take them. They may even be able to dispose of them for you.

If you do not adhere to these rules, the skip hire company could refuse to remove the skip from your property or apply an additional charge. If you are unsure about any item you want to dispose of in a skip, please contact us to ensure it is acceptable.

Skip hire is extremely convenient and practical however it is not a one-stop-shop for all of your waste. For legal or practical reasons, some materials are not suitable for skips and so you need to plan ahead and know the correct ways to dispose of your rubbish before choosing your skip size. By being aware of the correct way to dispose of items can help you avoid any additional charges and will also save you time.

To find out more about how we can help you with your waste disposal and recycling needs, please contact us on 0800 083 7807 or visit our website for further information.

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